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Every year I fly to Arizona to spend either Christmas or New Years with my grandparents. They live in a little town called Carefree, just north of Scottsdale. Carefree is just as it sounds — a sleepy town littered with cacti and adobe houses. They’ve lived in Arizona for as long as I can remember.

I am so lucky to have my grandparents.

I love going to visit them. Of course, there are the usual family shenanigans (as there are no matter where families choose to gather). I’m very fortunate to have been able to build such incredible relationships with all of my grandparents.

Playing games of gin rummy and eating too many homemade Greek desserts are just two highlights of my trips to Arizona. I love coming to Carefree for another reason — to do nothing.

Carefree is the perfect reprieve from fast-paced city life. It’s actually quiet here. There aren’t honking cars or angry cab drivers or homeless street dwellers. I can sit on the patio, with our yellow lab named Abby, and be at peace with my own thoughts.

When I was younger, I would hate it. Clarification: I wouldn’t hate coming to visit my grandparents, but I was so bored by the end of the trip I couldn’t wait to get back to school. After spending a week sitting around, playing card games, going out to eat, shopping, I was so excited to get back to “real life”.

Now, I thoroughly enjoy the peace and quiet. I love not setting an alarm — waking up when the Arizona sunlight creeps in through the shudders of the guest room. I thoroughly enjoy making a cup of coffee and eating a bagel at the breakfast table. I only feel slight guilt for consuming too many honey cookies and pieces of baklava (hey, it’s only once a year).

I like doing nothing. 

It’s freeing, really. To have minimal responsibility for a week. To have no plans, no parties, no meetings, no happy hours or events or classes or dinners or brunches or “work things” or trips. To literally have nowhere you have to be. No obligations. Nothing. To. Do.

Yes, by the end of the week, I still get a little stir crazy. But it’s nice, every once in a while, to slow down and take a break. Give myself a chance to process my life, appreciate the moments of silence, and relish in the empty time that isn’t really empty at all.

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